Delight Yourself in the Lord Wednesday, Apr 10 2019 

Psalm 37:4-6
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.

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Unabridged Christianity Sunday, Jan 6 2019 

To Be Like Him

John 3:The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

We are still considering this verse because it is the whole foundation of the Christian life.

Jesus knew all about Nicodemus. He knew he had been brought up religious. He also knew that one of His greatest enemies would be religious people. It would be the most difficult group of all.

Jesus revealed to Nicodemus a great deal about the life He was bringing into the world. It would be a whole new life because Christians would be born of the Spirit. Jesus said that the publicans and sinners would go into heaven before the Pharisees and scribes.

Last time we reviewed the Christian and the world. When a person is born again their whole attitude changes with regard to the world. They no longer love the world because they can see the world for what it really is. Instead the person is interested in things of the Spirit. The new nature has changed the person.

Now let’s move on to the next test which is a love for righteousness. We are still emphasizing the difference between religion and Christianity. One of the biggest hindrances to new converts are the people within the church today. In their efforts to increase their numbers they’ve become more and more like the world. If a person who is seeking Christ comes and finds the Christians are no different, why should they be interested?

Nicodemus was coming to Christ because there was something different about Him and he wanted to learn what it was. People seeking God want to be different. They want to be changed.

The church is more concerned about behavior than anything else, than the person. Religion puts up a respectable appearance but inwardly they are unchanged. Jesus said, “Wash the inside of the cup and the outside would be clean also.”

That is the difference between morality and righteousness. Religious people are Sunday go to meeting do gooders to be seen of men. It is all about appearances. Morality is concerned with the absence of certain things. As long as a person is not a drunkard, a drug addict, a prostitute, a thief etc., they “appear to be alright.

Jesus said, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” This a part of the fullness of Christ we find in John 1:16 that all Christians receive when they are born again.

Paul puts it in Romans 14:17
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

There are cults today that say you can only eat certain foods. It is very legalistic.

There is a glory about the new birth because true Christians want to be holy. They desire it for themselves. They want to be “like Christ.”

1 John 5:1-3

5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

They are not grievous to born again believers but they are to everyone else. People of the world think the Christian life is narrow, that it goes against the grain, it always puts down what they want to do. Law is always grievous but not righteousness.

The person who has the Holy Spirit within him delights in the law of the Lord. He is anxious to please his Father and to be pleasing in His sight. The new life is all about relationship, personal relationship with Him. It is a new life not something added on as an improvement to the old man. It is put into you by God. You are made new.

The whole object of salvation is to make us righteous as He is righteous, to be “like Him”.

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 8:3-4

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Don’t you just love how all the scriptures agree? Righteousness is the basis of our communion with God. Why do we worship God? Because He is righteous. Why do we praise Him? Why do we pray to Him? Fellowship with Him? Seek His face? The purpose of this righteousness He give us is for our relationship with Him, our communion with God, our fellowship with Him. To bring us back to God. That is reconciliation.

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Amos 3:3
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

1 John 1:5-7

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

1 John 2:3-4

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

The Lord said, “Be ye holy for I am holy.”

The seed God places in us is incorruptible. 1 Peter 1:23
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

As it grows within us, it makes us desire to be more and more like Him. Do we desire this?

The devil will come in as an angel of light and tell you that what is important is your happiness. But that is a distortion of scripture. It says, “happy are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness,” not happiness.

True Christians are happy not because they seek happiness but because they seek fellowship with Him. They hunger and thirst after His righteousness. The devil is interested in “experiences.”

If you can say that you desire to be righteous then you pass the test. You have the life of God in you.

The True Christian shows evidences of the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13.

You can’t manufacture fruit. Only God makes fruit. That is the difference between religion and true Christianity. Do you love God? Are you joyful? Do you rejoice in tribulation? Peace like a river? Patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control? Do you have these? These are the characteristics of our Lord Jesus that are grown within us from our rebirth on. His work in us isn’t through.

The Christian has instinctive self-control. He is not just trying to be something. He is something. He is alive. Christ is doing a work in him.

My Regeneration, My Joy – Part 2 Sunday, Nov 11 2018 

The scriptures for today begin at Matthew 5 vs 6:  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

And also Ecclesiastes 1 vs 15: “What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.

Going on from where we left off in part 1 we are contrasting morality and Christianity. The first attribute of  Christianity is that it has “transforming character” and the second is that it has “true righteousness”.

The first scripture brings out the “fullness” of Christianity. And the second highlights the effects of man attempting to me “moral”. You see, originally man was made in the image of God. He was righteous, free from sin, straight. But, after the fall, he was “born crooked”, born in sin, shapen in iniquity.

Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

With Christianity the third is restoration, freed from sin, without blemish. With morality it makes life bearable. But with Christianity there is “fullness, righteous, and straightness.”

Luke 3:4-6

as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.
Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be [a]brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
And all [b]flesh will see the salvation of God.’”

With the old man, the moral man, he is angular, irregular, the road is rough, there are impediments, potholes if you will. But with the Christian there is “true righteousness”.

Romans 14:17 “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 57 but specifically vs 1b-2a “For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
He enters into peace” and vs 21: “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

You see with morality you continue to have arguments ad disputes, but with Christianity there is peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. With morality it is like standing on a trap door that has turmoil underneath. You mess up and “fall through the door” and poof you are covered with worry and stress and biting of nails and gnashing of teeth. With Christianity there is righteousness, rest, joy, and peace with God being justified by faith.

Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all [a]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 1:17 “ For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth [a]were realized through Jesus Christ.

The moral man sticks with the “law” but those in Christ have realized His grace and truth evident in their lives. In the next post we will continue with the contrast and begin with an explanation of the “Salvation of God”.

To be continued…

 

 

My Regeneration, My Joy -Part 1 Saturday, Nov 10 2018 

The scriptures for today begin in the book of John chapter 1 verses 26-33:

26 John answered them saying, “I baptize [s]in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who [t]has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 I did not recognize [u]Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing [v]in water.” 32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize [w]Him, but He who sent me to baptize [x]in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes [y]in the Holy Spirit.’

One of the very first things we must do as Christians is to realize the reasons we have to rejoice. Why do we rejoice? Is it because it says so in the bible, “Rejoice, and again I say rejoice!”? It is true that it is part of our Christian witness. “Let your light so shine before men that they will glorify you Father which is in heaven.”

 But there is a great difference between morality and Christianity. Let me illustrate from:

Luke 3:1-17. I shall emphasize the main point from verses 2b-6 verse 8a

The word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ready the way of the Lord,
Make His paths straight.
Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be [a]brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth;
And all [b]flesh will see the salvation of God.’”

Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance,

Let me contrast morality and Christianity in various verses in order to point out the attributes of each.

Morality asks the question:  What shall we do?

   Christianity answers the question by:

1. Transforming character

2. True righteousness

3. Restoration

4. Power of God

5. Wisdom of God

To be continued…

 

 

 

Psalms 19 Thursday, Apr 12 2018 

The Scripture I would like to draw your attention to this morning is found in the book of Psalms, chapter 19. I think it is a fitting finish to the 21 day Psalms 119 study we concluded yesterday.

19 The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their [a]line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from [b]one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the [c]other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

The law of the Lord is [d]perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
13 Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be [e]blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

For we know Matthew 5:16 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Come Back to the LORD-Day 16 Friday, Apr 6 2018 

Today’s Scripture may be found at Psalm 119:121-128

Ayin.

121 I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.
122 Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation
And for Your righteous [a]word.
124 Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness
And teach me Your statutes.
125 I am Your servant; give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.
126 It is time for the Lord to act,
For they have broken Your law.
127 Therefore I love Your commandments
Above gold, yes, above fine gold.
128 Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything,
I hate every false way.

For we know Deuteronomy 4:29-30

29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice.

Come Back to the Lord- Day 5 Monday, Mar 26 2018 

Today’s Scripture can be found in the book of Psalms chapter 119 verses 33-40:

He.

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
And keep it with all my heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies
And not to dishonest gain.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
38 Establish Your [m]word to Your servant,
[n]As that which produces reverence for You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your ordinances are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me through Your righteousness.

For we know: Ecclesiastes 1:2-4

[a]Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
[b]Vanity of vanities! All is [c]vanity.”

What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth [d]remains forever.

I need you, LORD to revive me. Give me a double portion of your Spirit.

In Jesus’ name.

God’s Harvest Tuesday, Feb 7 2017 

In our side yard, we have a compost bin. In it, we put table scraps, potato peelings, egg shells, and other biodegradables. My husband is a master composter. Early in the spring we use the compost to build up our raised garden boxes before we plant the herbs, strawberries, and vegetables each year. Some of you may already know that there is nothing like home grown herbs and vegetables. Right now there are parsley, chives, and cilantro ready to harvest.

In the spiritual kingdom, we plant righteousness to get a harvest of unfailing love.

Hosea 10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.

When you sow something, you add water, sun, and time before you can reap. You have to give up something to get something. You don’t get the harvest right away. You have to wait upon the LORD.

God rains blessings on us so we can give of our fruits to bless others. God loves a cheerful giver.

Breaking up the unplowed ground is confessing our sins to soften our hearts to be able to receive the good God has for our lives. You have to sow before you can harvest. We give God our “garbage” and he turns it into something productive. If you keep planting in the same soil your harvest diminishes. But if you “break new ground” or plow a fallow field your harvest increases. So if there is a part of your life that you have not yet given to God you have the perfect opportunity to open it up to the LORD. Let him have it all.

Jesus said in Matthew 13:23 “But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.”

There is nothing like the harvest that comes from an act of kindness or goodness or compassion or love.

God’s People Wednesday, Oct 26 2016 

[I am writing] to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called to be saints (God’s people) and set apart for a sanctified life, [that is, set apart for God and His purpose]: Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith [your trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] is being proclaimed in all the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by preaching the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how continuously I mention you 10 in my prayers; always pleading that somehow, by God’s will, I may now at last come to you. 11 For I long to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift, to strengthen and establish you; 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged and comforted by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, [c]brothers and sisters, that many times I have planned to come to you, (and have been prevented so far) so that I may have some fruit [of my labors] among you, even as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I have a duty to perform and a debt to pay both to Greeks and to barbarians [the cultured and the uncultured], both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am ready and eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation [from His wrath and punishment] to everyone who believes [in Christ as Savior], to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith.”

Sowing and Reaping (Natural Laws) Thursday, Jan 30 2014 

Financial Serenity is the product of sowing good seed.  It is the product of natural laws.  Natural laws can be seen in nature. Jesus teaches us through the parable of the sower that a farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up.  Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil.  It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and they withered because they had no root.  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  He who has ears let him hear.

Listen then to what the parable of the sower means.   When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the seed sown along the path.  The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since he has no root he lasts only a short time.  When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.  The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.   But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it.  He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

So what does this have to do with financial serenity? Everything.

First, you reap what you sow.

Second, the farmer went out.  He didn’t expect to harvest without first planting.

Third, he had plenty of seeds so much so; he was able to scatter it everywhere.  God gives us what we need to plant.

Fourth, not all that you invest will bring a good return.  Some will fall by the wayside.

Fifth, some investments are short-term but they are still based on the same “solid” rock principals.  Know the “roots” of your investment. Who else is planting there?

Sixth, thorns represent debt that ties up your investment in paying back old creditors instead of new ventures. Be aware of the liabilities and ratios of companies you buy.  The deceitfulness of wealth is greed.  Don’t put all your seed in one spot.

Seventh, Investing in good companies means truly voting your conscience. Know the ethics of the companies you buy.  Lax ethics increase the risk of legal battles.

Reaping has natural laws too. 

First, reapers come at harvest time, not sooner.  If you cash in your retirement early part of the money goes to pay taxes and penalties.

Second, the sower reaps.

Third, the farmer must go out to reap.  Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter.

Fourth, Bundle the tares first and burn them.

Fifth, If you sleep on the job and aren’t alert you could make bad investments.

Sixth the enemy can sow weeds in your “golden wheat.”

Seventh, the smallest seed of mustard can grow to be the largest investment.

Jesus teaches us the parable of the weeds. “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away.  When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  The owner’s servants came and said to him, “Sir didn’t you sow good seed? Where then did the weeds come from?”

“An enemy did this,” he replied.

“The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

“No”, he answered. “Because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest.  At that time, I will tell the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”

He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest in the garden when it is planted and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its’ branches.”

Remember Gal 6:7 “do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

            Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers”.

            If you gossip about your friends you will lose their friendship. Every action has results.  What kind of seeds are you sowing? Accepting the seed God gives us to sow can represent talents. Use the talents God has given you to earn and invest wisely.  Just remember that God gives the increase.